Initiative for teens seeks to provide meaningful service and help them connect with God.
Published on: 08-10-2023
Maranatha Volunteers International recently wrapped up the Ultimate Workout, its annual mission trip for teens, with 125 volunteers serving in the Dominican Republic at sites north of the capital city of Santo Domingo.
For two weeks, volunteers constructed block walls at the Hacienda Estrella and Villa Primavera Seventh-day Adventist churches and poured the foundation for the Refugio Celestial church. The young people endured hot and humid conditions but persevered and moved each congregation closer to a completed church.
Each Sabbath, the volunteers had the opportunity to worship with the local church members they served during the week.
Beyond construction, volunteers conducted outreach in each community they worked in, including trash pickup, literature evangelism, prayer time, and children’s programs. Additionally, a designated team hopped from site to site, facilitating free medical clinics that ultimately served a total of 654 patients. Health professionals mentored teen volunteers at stations that offered general medicine, pediatrics, pharmacy, vision screenings and reading glasses, and prayer.
As with all Ultimate Workouts, helping teens to develop their spiritual muscles was a significant aspect, with morning and evening worships that included exuberant singing, passionate preaching, and genuine introspection. The tough work conditions each day, combined with language barriers and new people to meet, helped to create an atmosphere of reliance on God, resulting in 33 baptisms, the organizers reported.
“We make it very clear to staff, parents, and teens that our main goal with Ultimate Workout is to connect teens to Christ through service,” project leader and Maranatha vice president of volunteer services Lisandro Staut said. “That’s our mission statement, and that’s what guides us in every choice, every decision we have to make. We want to create a point of reference in their lives that they can remember whenever they make important decisions. In the DR, we felt this connection to Christ once again, and that translated into many public decisions to walk with Him.”
For more than 30 years, the Ultimate Workout has provided high school teenagers the opportunity to flex their physical and spiritual muscles. Without electronics, parents, and other familiar comforts, volunteers step into the mission field in search of a fresh perspective on the world and new relationships with fellow teens and with God. During the project, volunteers live in spartan conditions while building a church or school, coordinating outreach for the local community, and strengthening their personal connection to Jesus Christ.
Maranatha in the Dominican Republic
In 2022, Maranatha began working in the Dominican Republic to provide urgently needed Seventh-day Adventist church buildings in that Caribbean country. It is the fifth time Maranatha is working in the country. In 1980, after the destruction of Hurricane David, Maranatha constructed 160 houses there.
In 1992, the Dominican Republic was the site of a watershed moment of growth for Maranatha, when the organization coordinated the construction of 25 church buildings over a three-month period. Dubbed “Santo Domingo ’92,” it was the first time Maranatha concentrated on one place for multiple volunteer projects. Later efforts occurred in the Dominican Republic in 2003 and 2013.